The world’s leading university Harvard is increasing its engagement with India as it attempts to draw lessons from and reach out to a crucial and complex market.
For the first time in seven years, Harvard Business School recently brought its Advanced Leadership Initiative for Harvard fellows to India where global fellows got to interact with industry leaders such as D Shivakumar of Pepsico and Swati Piramal of Piramal Enterprises.
In a few months, The Harvard School of Public Health under Harvard University will have an office in Mumbai. Also, HBS recently launched its version of online teaching called HBX, for which India is a major market. Apart from these, an increasing number of Indian cases being taught at the school, greater faculty interest for research in India, coupled with the school’s Indian origin dean Nitin Nohria’s proactive role to engage with Indian business leaders are all signs of the increasing engagement.
“There are many things India has to teach,” said Rosabeth Moss Kanter, chair and director at Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative, which is aimed at preparing leaders to take on challenges in the social sector.
Having an Indian at the helm has accentuated their presence in India.
“With the dean being Indian there has been a massive movement towards India,” said Vibha Kagzi, an HBS alumni and co-president of the Harvard Club of Mumbai, which represents all the university’s colleges.
Most large corporate families including the Tatas, Piramal, Godrej, Bajaj and Mahindra have some affiliation with Harvard with either their promoters or children having studied there. “It is up to someone to tap into those affiliations… the dean is a catalyst in this,” she said.
Also, the Harvard School of Public Health will in a few months have an office in Mumbai and has filed for registration for the new hub in the city, K Vish Vishwanath, professor of health communication at Harvard School of Public Health, who will also head the Indian unit told ET in his first and exclusive media interaction. “The India hub will be called Harvard Global. We have received a generous donation of space from Swati Piramal,” he told ET. The institute will also work closely with partners in India to invest in healthcare capacity-building and manpower.
A lot of the faculty members at HBS and other colleges in Harvard are Indians and having this sort of engagement with India gives them an opportunity to reconnect with their roots.
India is also a crucial market for HBS’s online teaching platform HBX, launched globally two months ago. Harvard professor of Indian origin Bharat Anand, who is spearheading the project, was recently in India to showcase the platform.